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A lab with a view

Published on May 16, 2017 4:36PM

A presentation at Devil’s Cauldron in Oswald West State Park• Photo by K. Voelke

A presentation at Devil’s Cauldron in Oswald West State Park• Photo by K. Voelke

Conservation groups have joined forces to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Oregon’s Beach Bill with a Citizen Science Extravaganza in the Manzanita area this Saturday, May 20.

The Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve have partnered with other community groups to offer a firsthand look at citizen science projects at Oswald West State Park and the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve.

The outings will be followed by a free barbecue and surf hangout.

First off, guests can join the Audubon Society of Portland and Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve for a short, easy hike out to Audubon’s monitoring site at Devil’s Cauldron in Oswald West State Park.

Walkers with more energy can continue on Elk Flats Trail for a 1.5-mile moderate-to-difficult hike to Short Sands Beach and the rest of the day’s festivities. Hikers should prepare for slick, muddy trails and to scamper over and under sizable fallen trees.

At Falcon Cove Beach, guests can explore water-monitoring sites and learn about the Blue Water Task Force program and marine debris monitoring efforts going on coastwide. Discover where the trash on our beaches is coming from, how you can get involved, and all the partners that are contributing from local volunteers to schools to national organizations.

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program and The Nature Conservancy will team up to take participants on a tour of the rocky intertidal areas at Short Sand beach, with hunting for sea stars a top priority. These organizations support coastwide and local efforts to monitor sea star populations. Recent surveys have shown a decrease in diseased animals and the first signs of the populations recovering.

Saturday’s outing will begin at 10 am at the lower parking lot in Short Sands State Park and concludes with a free barbecue from 12:45 to 2 pm.

The excursion is part of the Explore Nature series of hikes, walks, paddles and outdoor adventures. For more details, go to www.explorenaturetillamookcoast.com.

To register, go to www.eventbrite.com and search for “citizen science extravaganza.”

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